1. Technology

Computer Animation Software Reviews

It's not always easy to choose one software package over another. From user-friendliness to functionality, price to package features and extras, there are quite a few influencing factors in the decision of just which computer animation software to try out. This listing offers this Guide's opinion as to how various software packages stack up against each other, and rates them on a scale of one to five.

Animation Software Review: Adobe Flash CS5
The latest version of Flash brings the shiny.

Animation Software Review: Poser Pro 2010 3D Modeling & Anima…
For less than $500 Poser Pro 2010 lets animators create content that nears the sophistication of basic models from high-end studio animation programs that cost thousands of dollars.

Animation Software Review: PM Animation
As mid-range animation software that looks like hokey shareware but packs in a great deal of useful functionality, PM Animation is proof that you can't judge a book by its cover - but it just isn't ready for prime time.

WidgetCast 2.0 from Reallusion
WidgetCast 2.0 brings the game, but is it worth the cost?

Animation Software Review: FotoMorph Image Animation Software
FotoMorph is free image morphing and animation software that lets you apply changes and effects to image morphs.

Reallusion's WidgetCast
WidgetCast caters to the world of Web 2.0 and constantly-connected social media by providing a tool that allows you to package your content as micro-applications that can easily be shared anywhere Flash can go.

iClone 4.0 Pro
Reallusion's iClone has grown in leaps and bounds from its original incarnation.

SmithMicro's Poser 8
While the results still don't compare to studio animations built from scratch and driven by hours of hard work, Poser 8 has come a long way from its stiff, plastic origins to provide even non-animators with a way to fully realize their imaginations and see their concepts come to life.

CrazyTalk 6.0 Pro
Ranging from $49.99 for the Standard version to $149.99 for the Pro version, Reallusion's CrazyTalk 6.0 is a great facial animation program that provides unique (and quick) storytelling abilities.

Anime Studio Pro 6
While Anime Studio Pro 6 offers valuable tools that meet the demands of the professional animator, hobbyists or small-time animators won't see much difference between Pro and Debut.

Anime Studio Debut
Anime Studio Debut is definitely a good (and cost-effective) way for animators to branch away from Flash and into programs targeted specifically for cartoon animation.

Sqirlz Morph 2.1
While I wouldn't call Sqirlz Morph 2.1 a bad program, it's an essentially useless one.

Cyberdelia 3D Animation Software
It's hard to review a software package that you can't even run. While often program problems are a result of user errors, in this case I'd have to say to stay away.

Beneton Movie GIF
Beneton Movie GIF is a fairly useful GIF animation / editing / sequencing program that may not be particularly special, but at least it serves its intended purpose flawlessly.

AnimatorDV Stop-Motion Animation Software
AnimatorDV is a stop-motion animation program that could convince even those who hate stop-motion to give it a try.

Flash Effect SiteBuilder
Flash Effect SiteBuilder is an interesting little gem of a Flash animation and website building program that's really a diamond in the rough - or a diamond in the glitz, if you can find the core functionality underneath the glitter and shine.

KoolMoves 7.0
KoolMoves 7.0 doesn't exactly fail at substituting for Flash, but it doesn't exactly succeed, either.

Ulead GIF Animator 5
Ulead GIF Animator is a nicely packaged little program that would be extremely useful for the hobbyist or casual animator.

Cylekx 2.9
Cylekx 2.9 is bland, unimpressive addition to the line-up of second-tier graphics and animation programs.

DigiCel Flipbook 6
DigiCel Flipbook is an animation software package that creates an animation studio, complete with tools, on your desktop.

Toon Boom Animate
Toon Boom Animate is yet another installation in a growing line of award-winning animation packages.

Flash Media Show (Standard)
Flash Media Show is a tool that allows you to organize, display, and share your images as a Flash movie.

GifSplitter 2
GifSplitter 2 from XoYo Software does exactly what it says it does and no more: it splits animated GIFs into separate frames and saves those frames to bitmap files.

iClone
While iClone by Reallusion is not a professional animation package, it still delivers a large number of professional-quality features packaged in a format that even the most basic of users can grasp with little to no instruction, bringing the 3D filmmaking experience to a broader audience.

Anime Studio Pro 5
While Anime Studio 5 definitely isn't a program that you can dive in and start using without at least a passing knowledge of the fundamentals of animation, it still provides a rich, full-featured animation experience that simplifies the process and allows you to produce high quality animations for less effort.

The TAB Manga
The TAB Manga is a simplified animation program that may get the job done, but is it worth $200?

Toon Boom's Flip Boom
Flip Boom is a software package from Toon Boom designed to allow children to learn the basics of animation in a fun, friendly environment.

Toon Boom Studio 4
Toon Boom Studio 4 is a unique and advanced animation experience that brings your animations from the page to the PC.

Toon Boom Digital Pro, Personal Learning Edition
Toon Boom Digital Pro eliminates the need for multiple software packages to create a richer, more in-depth animation experience where you can animate from start to finish within a single project.

Guide Review: Eovia Carrara 5
If you're patient and willing to learn, Eovia's Carrara 5 could be a great program for you to produce professional-quality 3D images and animations.

Guide Review: Macromedia Flash Professional 8
While Macromedia Flash 8 is a great program that continues the tradition of excellence begun by its previous incarnations, upgrading from Flash MX isn't really essential to continue animating and developing effectively.

Guide Review: iClone by Reallusion
iClone reminds me a great deal of Bryce's Poser, but advanced to the next level. Even the newest beginning animator can dive right in and have fun tweaking the preset models to create and animate your own "digital you".

Guide Review: CrazyTalk 4.0
CrazyTalk 4.0 is a stunning revolution in making the creation of human interface animations as easy as the click of a button.

Guide Review: Toon Boom Studio 2.5
Toon Boom Studio has been the choice of many major animation studios for their 2D animation and 2D special effects needs.

Guide Review: Xara 3D 6.0
Xara 3D 6.0 is a great 3D animation program for beginners or those with simple needs for their animations and 3D designs.

Guide Review: Macromedia Flash MX 2004
While Flash MX can be a tad confusing for the unitiated, Macromedia once again comes through with a stellar improvement on its renowned Flash 2D animation and application design software.

Animation Software Review: Anime Studio Debut 7
Anime Studio Debut 7 does an admirable job of bridging the gap between beginner animation software and more advanced animation tools by offering an accessible interface with comprehensive tools and smart tips for animators of all ages.

Animation Software Review: Anime Studio Pro 7
While Anime Studio Pro 7 has some interesting new features, unless you're planning to use the 3D object integration it really doesn't offer much of an advantage over Anime Studio Debut 7.

Animation Software Review: Xara Designer Pro 6
Although it's a fully-featured design program, Xara Designer Pro 6 is just that: a design program with some animation features. I wouldn't recommend it for animators unless you're seeking something suited for web content production. For that, Xara Designer's perfect.

Animation Software Review: Animoids 3D Movie Maker
Animoid 3D Movie Maker is almost shockingly complex, considering the low price. That complexity lends a richness and fullness of features, but...

Animation Software Review: Flash Banner Wizard
Flash Banner Wizard has one purpose: to make simple Flash banners, and it fulfills that purpose admirably well.

Animation Software Review: Bluff Titler Animation Software
As an animation program, Bluff Titler isn't much. It creates text on video. That text may be animated or may have animated effects applied to it. Either way it's messy, grainy, a little too hokey 80s for my tastes.

Animation Software Review: CrazyTalk Animator

Animation Software Review: YouTube's Xtranormal
Ever wanted to create an animated short like the Geico commercials? With YouTube's Xtranormal animation application, you can.

Animation Software Review: YouTube's Stupeflix Video Maker
While I wouldn't really call Stupeflix animation software, it does at least produce animated content in a limited form: usually composites animated as slideshows, lists, and presentations.

Anime Studio Debut 8 Animation Software Review
To be honest, the latest version of Anime Studio Debut - Anime Studio Debut 8, to be exact - is a little underwhelming, and I'm not entirely sure why. The automatic image tracing feature, especially, is impressive.

Animation Software Review: Cool Flash Maker
While this may be an inexpensive alternative to Flash, even $49.95 is too much for this hokey collection of cheesy 80s-style animations.

Google SketchUp 3D Modeling Software Review (Free Version)
As a 3D modeling program, Google SketchUp successfully unites principles of line drawing with 3D for a bare-bones program that lets you produce surprisingly complex 3D artwork.

Animation Software Review: Pivot Stickfigure Animator
Pivot Stickfigure Animator is a program that lets you populate scenes with ready-made stick figures and animate them using conveniently provided pivot points.

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